OKC ThunderDome

Beyond…Waaaay Beyond…

12/1 Daily Links

December welcomes us here in New Jersey with rain and cold.  Let’s hope that the Thunder are unaffected by such dreary tidings.  Every game matters – this phrase needs to be their mantra as they engage in the mediocrity that is the Eastern Conference. Tonight’s is one of the kind that tests a young team’s maturity.

What the pros are saying:

What I’m saying:

  • A bunch of nice notes from Rohde’s notebook. A few:
    • Sefolosha teams up with the Patriots’ Wes Welker to host a hoops camp.
    • The team will play a total of 17 back-to-backs this season.
    • Tonight’s game is in the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, due to the Nets’ transitioning to their new stadium in the future.
  • I see Ibaka having a long shelf-life in the NBA.  His growing game reminds me a lot of Antonio Davis and PJ Brown.  Those two guys, now retired, always played critical roles in their teams’ success because of their willingness to rebound, play great defense, and hit open jumpers.  You know, just like Ibaka is doing now.  Teams will always value, if not place a premium on, guys who are willing to work in those trenches.
  • An interesting look at game-ending buzzer beaters, and the Thunder’s commitment to Durant.
    • It’s a delicate balancing act, because the team certainly wants to give Durant all the confidence he needs to take the shots that matter most.  However, there does come a point in time when you have to ask yourself if the guy shooting the ball is the guy who is most likely to make it.  Durant is the obvious choice for last second shots because of his length and athleticism – he can get a shot almost anywhere on the court, whereas Westbrook and Green are a little bit more limited. Also, there are only a handful of opportunities in a season where this type of shot presents itself; it is only over a cumulative long career that you begin to see distinct patterns, like Kobe Bryant finishing the ends of games.
    • Durant is probably more a Lebron James than a Patrick Ewing at this point.  What I mean is, for the first few years of Lebron’s career, he too had a knock on him for not having any game winning shots.  However, it wasn’t because of lack of ability, but rather lack of opportunity.  Once the opportunities came (especially in the playoffs) he rose to the occasion.  Contrast this with Ewing, who while able to get off his jumper from just about anywhere, notoriously came up small when it mattered most.  One of my favorite quotes about him, and one that I think kind of sums up Ewing’s career (and sadly I can’t remember who said it), was, “Nobody has taken more game winning shots than Ewing and missed.”

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